How To Write A Day Off Work Request Email (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar
Jan. 12, 2023
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Summary. To write a day off request email, first write a brief and direct subject time and in the first sentence state your purpose of the email. Include the date or dates that you are requestion off. You can mention why you are taking time off, but most of the time that is optional. Let your boss know how you are preparing for your work to be done in that time and that they can reach out with any questions if needed.

Taking days off of work is key to a healthy work-life balance, whether you need to tend to the non-work parts of your life or simply need a break.

Most employers won’t appreciate it if you simply don’t show up for a week, however, so you’ll need to request permission to take that time off.

To do this, you’ll need to write an email. In this article, we’ve put together some instructions on how to write a time off request email, as well as some sample emails and tips for how to ask for time off in a respectful and effective way.

Key Takeaways

  • Your email should concisely include the dates you’re requesting off, the reason why you need time off, and how you’re ensuring your responsibilities are taken care of before you leave and while you’re gone.

  • You should always write a vacation request email because it improves your chances of getting your time off approved, it lightens the burden on your team, it creates documentation of your request, and it sets your career up for success in the future.

  • Whenever possible, you should talk to your boss about your time off request before you put it in an email.

  • Giving as much advance notice as possible will increase your chances of getting your request approved.

How to Write a Day Off Work Request Email

How to Write an Email To Ask for Time Off

Writing a professional vacation request email isn’t nearly as tricky or intimidating as some believe it to be.

Every such email should be concise yet inform the reader of everything they need to know.

Here are the steps to guide you along:

  1. Write a brief, direct subject line. A good rule of thumb for professional emails, in general, is that the recipient should be able to understand the point of the email before opening it.

    Write a short line that states the purpose of your email and the dates you wish to take off.

    At a large company, you should consider including your last name in the subject line so that the reader can quickly identify who you are.

  2. State why you’re writing. After your greeting, you should immediately state that the purpose of your email is to request time off.

    Also, mention if you’ve already approached your boss about the request.

  3. Include the dates that you’re requesting. Mention which dates you intend to take off either in the first line of your email or the beginning paragraph.

    Make sure that these dates match those you included in the subject line.

    It’s also smart to mention how many days you’re using if your company practices an accrued time off policy.

    Doing so shows that you understand your employer’s policies, as well as helps them update your information.

  4. Mention why you’re taking time off (optional). If you just want to take a quick break from work or a personal day, then this section isn’t necessary.

    However, if there are personal issues or extenuating circumstances that demand your attention, then indicating such can help your supervisor decide whether to approve your time off.

    Of course, you don’t need to go into detail. Just mentioning that you need to address family issues or deal with an illness should be enough.

  5. Discuss how you’re preparing. Make sure to explain how you’re preparing ahead of time to ease the burden of your absence off of the company.

    This helps convey your sense of professionalism and improves the chances that your request for time off will be approved.

    Tell them that you’re working diligently to ensure all your work affairs are completed before you leave. You’re aware of all deadlines and have made all preparations necessary to meet them despite your temporary leave of absence.

  6. Make yourself available for questions. It’s a professional courtesy to tell your employer to feel free to reach out to you for any questions or discussions regarding your time off.

    Doing so promotes open communication between both parties.

Sample Vacation Request Emails

Here are some sample vacation request emails of varying types to help you get started with drafting your own. Take note of how these emails follow the structure that we laid out earlier.

  1. Formal Vacation Request Email Example

    Subject line: Vacation Request March 12-26 – David Dail

    Dear Tim,

    I’m writing this email as a formal request for two weeks’ vacation from Monday, March 12th through Monday, March 26th. I will return to the office on Tuesday, March 27th.

    As we discussed last week, I am working hard to complete all my duties before I leave. I know that our project deadline is in April, so I finished most of my upcoming tasks ahead of time so as not to set us behind in schedule.

    Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. My work email is dDail@gmail.com, and my phone number is (444) 555 8282.

    Thank you for considering my request.

    Best Regards,
    David Dail

  2. Formal Vacation Request Reminder Example

    Subject line: Vacation Reminder March 12-26 – David Dail

    Dear Tim,

    As we discussed last month, I will be out of the office from Monday, March 12th through Monday, March 26th. I just wanted to offer a reminder so as not to catch you by surprise.

    I’ve closely examined our project schedule to ensure that I’ve completed all tasks assigned to me. I’ve also finished my upcoming duties for the next two weeks ahead of schedule, so we should be progressing as planned in terms of meeting the project deadline.

    Of course, I will still be available by phone at (444) 555 8283 and by email at dDail@gmail.com in case you need to reach out. Thank you.

    Best Regards,
    David Dail

Why You Should Always Write a Vacation Request Email

Writing a clear and informative vacation request email to your supervisor works to your advantage as well as your team’s.

The benefits include:

  • Improves your chances. If you ask your boss for time off later rather than sooner, there’s a higher chance that they’ll turn down your request.

    With such a short time window, they likely won’t be able to delegate your tasks to another team member. Your supervisor also likely won’t appreciate the short notice you’ve given them.

    If you had instead asked for time off ahead of time in a direct and friendly manner, most individuals would feel bad turning down such a request.

  • Lessens the burden on your team. Just because you aren’t at work doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t have to do your duties.

    If you inform your team of your vacation weeks in advance, they’ll be able to split the tasks appropriately. If you leave all of a sudden, then one or two team members may be forced to carry the entire workload.

    It’s better to avoid such a scenario, for their sake as well as your working relationship with them once you return.

  • Documentation. It’s important to document any approvals that you receive in the workplace.

    Things can often go wrong, and you don’t want to find yourself in a position where it’s your word against someone else’s. Having written proof that your vacation time was approved is just a prudent way to protect yourself against any potential problems.

  • Benefits your career in the future. Writing an effective leave request is part of establishing a communicative and professional reputation.

    If you’re consistently respectful of others, your boss will remember it when it comes time to give raises and promotions. Even after you leave your present job, you want this to be something positive that your employer can cite if they’re called as a reference.

    Not notifying your employer of your intent to take time off, on the other hand, can lead to disciplinary action or even termination. In that case, you’ll end up having to write an excuse letter for absence anyway.

Tips for Writing a Vacation Request Email

While you’re writing your email to request time off, make sure to consider these important tips:

  • Ask your supervisor in person first. Discussing your plans with your boss and having a back and forth helps you come to an agreement on the best way to take your vacation.

    You can discuss the most convenient dates for you to leave, alternative work options, and other relevant topics.

    If you’re looking to take time off at a job you just started, then you absolutely need to discuss your plans with your boss in person.

    There are plenty of reasons for taking a break right after accepting a job offer. However, not approaching the situation delicately can set an unprofessional first impression and tarnish your working relationship with the company moving forward.

    Speaking face-to-face with someone is always the best way to help them empathize and understand your situation.

  • Give as much advance notice as possible. Leave as much time as possible for your employer and team to prepare for your absence.

    If you’re planning to leave for a few days, notifying your supervisor a few weeks ahead of time should be enough.

    If you intend to take a long vacation (one workweek or more), you should give notice at least two months in advance.

    Of course, if you need to take sudden sick leave, it’s fine to notify your employer the day before or even the morning of your day off.

  • Give your coworkers a heads up. Your absence will affect your coworkers just as much or more than it will your boss, so make sure you let them know you’re going to be gone as well.

    Before you leave, you should also make sure they have everything they need from you to do their work so that you aren’t leaving them in a bind.

  • Make a plan for covering your tasks. Chances are there are a few of your responsibilities that you’ll need to hand off while you’re gone. Communicate with your coworkers about this as early as possible, and when you ask someone to help you, be willing to cover for them when they’re out.

    Once you have a plan in place, share it with your boss or supervisor so that they’re in the loop. It can also be a good idea to have this plan in place before you make your request for time off to help boost your chances of getting it approved.

  • Check the company or team calendar. You aren’t likely to get your vacation approved if you schedule it at the same time as a major deadline, or during the same week that three other people have already requested off.

    To avoid this and to be courteous to your team, check the calendar before you schedule your vacation. Or, if you can’t work around it, communicate that to the group early and do whatever you can to make their lives easier before and after your time off.

  • Research your company’s paid time off (PTO) policy. Before you write a vacation request email, make sure you understand how your company’s leave policies work.

    You want to do this to make sure that you have enough PTO to take, but also to see if there are any specialized types of PTO that may apply to your situation. For example, some companies provide bereavement leave, which means you can use that to attend a close family member’s funeral instead of using your regular vacation days.

    Other types of time off include:

    • Sick leave

    • Medical leave

    • Personal time

    • Maternity or paternity

    • Jury duty

    • Military

    • Leave of absence

    Reach out to your supervisor or human resources department if you can’t find these policies in the employee handbook.

  • Write a follow-up email. Even if you already discussed your time off with your boss in person, you should write a formal follow-up email to document the occasion.

    This way, you can receive written confirmation of your vacation details in case you need to refer back to it in the future.

  • Send a reminder email. Since it’s recommended to send a leave request email weeks or months ahead of time, it’s also prudent to send one right before you intend to leave.

    This prevents the possibility of your supervisor being caught off surprise after such a long period of time.

  • Be flexible whenever possible. As much as you can, be willing to be flexible about when you take time off of work. Consider giving your boss the choice between two sets of dates that work for you, or be willing to adjust by a day or two.

    You shouldn’t be a doormat, but showing that you’re a team player whenever you can will go a long way toward good relationships with your team and a higher likelihood of getting your time off requests approved.

Requesting Time Off Work FAQs

  1. How do you politely ask for a day off?

    You politely ask for a day off by using professional language that makes a request instead of a demand. While you may have the right to use your vacation days, asking your boss about using it is much more professional and polite than telling them you’re going to be gone.

    It’s courteous to say something like, “I have a week of vacation that I was planning to use this summer. Would it work for me to take June 20-25 off?” This is an assertive way to tell your boss that you’re going to take a vacation while still politely respecting their authority and their need to coordinate their employees’ schedules.

  2. How do you tell your boss you can’t work today?

    You tell your boss you can’t work today by sending them a polite email or text explaining that you won’t be in. Sometimes you wake up sick, you need to take care of a sick child, or something else happens with little to no warning that prevents you from going to work.

    When this happens, it’s important to let your boss know as quickly as possible. An email is always the best way to go since you’ll both have a timestamped, written record, but some bosses may prefer you text them as well.

    In your message, express your apologies for not being able to make it and explain as much as you can about why you won’t be in (it can be vague, but receiving some explanation is far less frustrating than nothing at all for a boss).

    If possible, you might also consider adding details about how you’ll reschedule a meeting or will contact a coworker about taking over a vital task for the day.

  3. How do I ask my boss for a day off?

    To ask your boss for a day off, you’ll need to talk to them in person and then write them an email. Talking to your boss in person about your plans first is generally a good idea since you can discuss dates that work or don’t work more quickly in person than you can in an email.

    After that conversation though, you should always send an email requesting the time off. This serves as a record for both of you in case there is any confusion in the future.

    In your email, you should include the specific dates and times you want to take off, what type of leave you’ll be using, and, if possible, the reason why you’re taking the time off.

    This can be as vague as “vacation” or “family emergency,” but providing a reason of some kind goes a long way toward helping your boss be more inclined to approve your time off request.

  4. How do you say you can’t work on your day off?

    When saying no to work on your day off it’s important to be straightforward and authentic but you should also be polite about it. If your coworker needs a question answered or needs help with something, try to bring up an alternative or solution for them. This allows for them to be able to continue working while you still have your day off. Here are some examples of ways to say you can’t work on your day off:

    • “Now is not a good time for me, but I can let you know when my schedule clears up.”

    • “Unfortunately, I have too much to do today, but I can help you another time.”

    • “How about you try it on your own first, and then I can help you?”

References

  1. CHRON – How to Ask for a Day Off From Work Through Email

  2. BetterUp – Ask for Time off The Right Way – How to Get What You Need

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Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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